Category Archives: 4 stars

Caroline – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Did you ever think about what was Miss Bingley’s reaction to Darcy’s engagement? Can you imagine what it must have been like to realise everything she fought for during the last years of her life had been for nothing? What about her future? Did she ever get married? Or ended up an old spinster? Did she let go of her feelings of superiority towards the Bennet sisters?

Sue Barr clearly thought about all these questions and wrote a delicious novel describing Caroline Bingley’s life after the double engagement of Darcy and Bingley 🙂

I was never a fan of Caroline Bingley, but lately I find stories about her quite interesting and Sue Barr definitely made me want to read more about Caroline. In fact, there is so much potential about Miss Bingley’s character that I wonder why we don’t have more stories about her, Sue Barr clearly saw all this potential and used it in an exceptional manner.

Caroline is a romance whose main character is Caroline Bingley but it isn’t just a book about a secondary character of Pride & Prejudice, it is a book about second chances, lessons learnt and personal growth. This story tells us how Caroline took the news that shattered her life and how she moved on, but also how others continued to view her and react to her actions. These two aspects made the book very real because life makes us who we are, it shapes our behaviours and personalities, and some events may alter us into someone else, but it doesn’t erase who we were and the perception others have of us. That perception will only change if we change ourselves and if our new behaviours are different from what they used to be, and that is what happens to Miss Bingley in this book,she is brought to life as an imperfect human being who is forced to grow with life’s blows.

But as I mentioned earlier, this is a romance, so it’s not all about inner growth. Caroline’s love interest in this book will be Lord Nathan..err..I mean Mr. Kerr..or shall I say both? Let’s just say you would never picture Caroline with someone with this profession, but neither would you imagine someone with this profession exactly like him. I did like to know why he chose it though, it made me understand why someone with that background and personality ended up as a vicar. He is a charming man, and should I say too good for Caroline? Or is that my prejudice speaking? He is indeed an interesting character and I loved his interactions with Caroline but I would have prefered for them to have a different ending… don’t worry, there is a HEA, I would just prefer it if it wasn’t so perfect.

If you want a secondary character story which is fast to read and a page turner, this book is for you! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it between two ODC books 🙂

You can find this book at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

And if you want to know more about it, you still have the blurb and an excerpt below.

 

 

Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and unrequited love interest married a Bennet sister? Join me in this story of redemptive love and the healing of broken dreams.

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years, her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’.  Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?

 

 

Good day, Rita, and thank you for hosting this excerpt post for my latest release, Caroline, Pride & Prejudice Continued… Book One. Today, I am sharing a post that reveals a slightly different side to Caroline, where we learn a little about how she discovered her own passion for music. I hope your readers enjoy this glimpse into Caroline.

“Thank you, Miss Bingley. Would you like to play something as well?”

“I’d love to. Do you have any requests?” Out of habit, she looked toward the fireplace where Darcy stood with the Duke. Odd how she still deferred to him, even when she knew he held no regard for her, if he ever had at all.

“Do you know Mozart?” The dulcet tones of Lord Nathan made her stomach quiver. He was standing not more than three feet from her.

She nodded and took her seat.

“Do you need any sheet music, Miss Bingley?” Georgiana asked.

“No thank you, Miss Darcy. I’ll play a piece I’m familiar with.”

Lord Nathan escorted Georgiana back to her seat while she settled at the pianoforte, cleared her mind and began to play Eine Klein Nachtmusik. As her fingers flew over the keyboard, she heard the music exactly as she had the first time she attended a concert with her father in Edinburgh. In her mind violins and cellos kept perfect harmony, transporting the music to unheard of heights.

To think, Caro, Mozart t’was but a boy when he wrote this music. Can you believe he started writin’ when he was a wee lad, three years of age? There’s nothin’ you can’t do if you set your mind to it.

Her father’s rough northern accent held awe at what was achievable and she’d never forgotten that night. It changed her whole life and from that moment, music was her passion.

When she finished to polite applause and took a seat in a nearby chair, Louisa took to the pianoforte and played and sang a popular piece. She didn’t have a strong voice, but it was enjoyable. From her vantage point across the room, Caroline watched as Lord Nathan conversed with Georgiana. He bent his head in conversation with her, his broad shoulders turned slightly toward her. He intrigued her greatly, this man of mystery. He was exceedingly handsome, to be sure, but other than that she knew nothing about him. Not a whisper of where he’d been for the past three years.

Georgiana’s soft laugh brought her attention back to her and Lord Nathan. She longed to have him give her the same undivided attention. Evidently sensing her study of him, he shifted his gaze toward her. Quickly she looked down, but almost against her will, she raised her eyes and found him watching her intently. She couldn’t look away, although her mind and senses urged her to. As if he knew her thoughts, like words being displayed on parchment, his mouth quirked at one corner and he inclined his head.

Her face flamed and prickles of heat threatened to turn her cheeks an unbecoming pink. As a precautionary measure, she snapped open her fan. The gold pomander on her wrist swayed with each flick of her wrist, setting off a pleasant aroma of her favorite rose water. She allowed the familiar scent to soothe her. It wouldn’t do for Lord Nathan to know he discomposed her.

 

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.

For more information about her other books, visit her website: http://www.suebarrauthor.com/ of follow her on the below social media:

Facebook , Twitter , Goodreads, Pinterest

 

If this review enticed you and you liked the excerpt, please follow the blog tour for more information on this book. This is just the second stop and there is still much, much more to come 🙂

March 12 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway

March 13/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Excerpt & Giveaway

March 14/ More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway

March 15/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 16/ Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 17/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 18/ My Love for Jane Austen/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 19/ Every Savage Can Dance/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 20/ Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 21/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 22 / Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 23 /Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway

March 24/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 25/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 26/ Of Pens & Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway

 

Sue Barr is offering in this blog tour several copies of Caroline and some goodies as well!!!

Three winners will receive a paperback copy of “Caroline” and a Jane Austen Journal and three separate winners will receive an ebook copy of this book. All you have to do is click on this link and enter the giveaway through Rafflecopter.

All giveaways are open to international winners, so good luck everyone 🙂

 

 

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13 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, JAFF, Pride and Prejudice

Snowbound at Hartfield Review & Giveaway

snowbound-at-hartfield-ebook4 stars

Snowbound at Hartfield is a crossover of books and characters that I never thought possible, but maybe the issue is with my imagination because Maria Grace made these characters interactions completely plausible and interesting.

Pride & Prejudice will meet Persuasion and Emma when both Mr.Darcy’s party and Sir Walter Elliot’s are trapped in an inn during a snowstorm without any rooms vacant. Luckily this inn is close to Hartfield, and Mr Knightley, who is Mr. Darcy’s old friend, invites them all to stay with him and his family until the storm abates.

It is due to these circumstances that we will have in the same house Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet, Col. Fitzwilliam, Sir Walter Elliot, Miss Elizabeth Elliot, Mr. Knightley, Mrs Emma Knightley and Mr. Woodhouse. I’m sure you’re starting to imagine how much fun it will be to have Mr. Bennet and Sir Walter Elliot in close proximity! But Sir Walter will not even be the only person who will contribute to the amusement of Mr. Bennet, the Knightley’s neighbours are, after all, perfect to make sport of, and Mrs. Elton will always be a source of amusement for some and chagrin to others wherever she goes.

The originality of bringing all these characters together and developing a very different and unexpected couple has to be praised! The romantic couple in Snowbound at Hartfield is one I had never seen portrayed and would never think of, but Maria Grace made it work by showing us a deeper and darker side of these characters, one that is not often shown to us and will make us think of what is beneath the character’s usual façade. In fact, she picked up one of my least favourite secondary characters from Austen, and made her the love interest of one of my favourite characters succeeding to make me wish they would find happiness together.That wasn’t an easy task, and I still can not say Miss Elliot is a favourite of mine, but she deed redeem herself in this book, and Maria Grace’s approach to this character was remarkable.

The love story between Col. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Elliot will be very different from what we are used to, but they will be presented to us as two broken souls who can mend each other, and we can not stop thinking that they will do very well together.

Elizabeth Darcy and Emma Knightley are secondary characters in this story but it was very amusing and fun to see them described as matrons!

Snowbound at Hartfield is a creative, fun and romantic novella which will fill our hearts with the hope that it is never too late to find happiness. I recommend this book to any Austen fan who is looking for a secondary character story to read. This story is a quick read that will bring several of Austen’s characters into a new light, it is perfect to be read between two Darcy and Elizabeth centered books, and I’m sure any Austen aficionado will enjoy it.

 

You can find Snowbound at Hartfield at :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

giveaway-time

Maria Grace has offered a giveaway of an ebook of “Snowbound at Hartfield for my From Pemberley to Milton readers.  To enter it please leave a comment on this post until the 1st of March, and if you want to double your chances of winning, comment the interview with Maria Grace posted on the 20th of February.

The winners will be announced in the beginning of March. To make sure you receive the winners announcement notification please follow From Pemberley to Milton to make sure you receive an e-mails every time a new post is published. I would hate to see someone didn’t win the book because they missed the announcement.

Good luck everyone!

17 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Common Ground

common ground4 stars

Hello everyone,

Common Ground is a continuation of the BBC 2004 adaptation of North and South, and starts right after the epic train station scene. As always I was thrilled to read more about the trip to Milton and John and Margaret’s lives, especially because Common Ground proved to be a very balanced paced book which kept my attention from the beginning until the end.

Unlike many novels that are mainly focused on John and Margaret’s relationship, or the working classes’ struggles, Common Ground actually gives a lot of relevance to the difficulties faced by the masters, namely the effects speculation had on their business. I personally thought it was interesting to see the author explore the topic of speculation itself instead of just mentioning it, the historical research behind this idea and its transposition to the book made this a very unique variation. Also, the fact that it’s not the workers but the masters facing difficulties made this story particularly different and refreshing as in a twist of events the masters need to come together and unite their efforts to save their business, with Thornton assuming a main role, of course :). I will not go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil the book, but it is indeed a very different storyline.

I highly appreciated the focus on these topics but on the other hand I also felt that the moments between John and Margaret were not enough, and I did miss the romance between these two characters. Even so, the epilogue was satisfying and I liked seeing what happened to the cotton mills and our beloved characters, especially John Thornton 🙂

Another change in this book was Hanna Thornton’s character who was not portrayed as an overbearing mother and cold distant mother in law. Curiously enough, in Common Ground the anti-hero role is delegated to Fanny who is shown to be an irrational girl posing many problems to our couple.

Margaret’s family was not the cause for many troubles, but they were against the wedding and even though this is something I would expect to see in a N&S variation, it doesn’t happen very frequently, so once again Elaine Owen surprised me on the creativity of her plot and character development. And speaking of characters, Dixon is absent during the majority of the book and is only briefly mentioned in the end of it, isn’t that different? Honestly, I’m not very fond of this character, so when at 60% of the book I realized she was not there, I truly liked it 🙂

This was the first North and South book Elaine Owen released, and I hope she continues to write books on this category because Common Ground was indeed a different and original book with a lot of creativity in the narrative.

 

Common Ground is available at:

Amazon.com – Common Ground

Amazon.co.uk – Common Ground

 

Elaine Owen is stopping by at From Pemberley to Milton next week for an interview on her P&P and N&S works, so if your curious, don’t miss the opportunity to get to know her a little better.

 

10 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, North and South

Rainy Days Review & Giveaway

51g0Z47yIvL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_4 stars

Rainy days was released in October 2009, so I am probably one of the few people who have only read it this year. I don’t know how this happened, but the first book I’ve read from Lory Lilian was not rainy Days but Sketching Mr. Darcy, and after reading that one I could not wait to read more books of this author, so Remembrance of the Past followed, and now, at last, Rainy Days.

It is curious how one rainy morning can change an entire story.

In this book Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are out of doors when a storm hits the area and they are forced to take shelter in a cottage in the woods. The time they spend together is enough for Elizabeth to start questioning Mr. Wickham’s attitudes and Mr. Darcy’s character, and we all know how this can change everything 🙂

When we think of this couple stranded in a cabin in the middle of the woods, we immediately think of what may happen there, and I have to say that I loved that Lory Lilian managed to get our characters to always respect propriety. Their scenes together were intense but clean, and that is exactly how I like them.

The characters remained true to themselves and their arguments were believable and a joy to read. I particularly liked seeing Mr. Darcy’s temper as many times we are presented with a perfect Mr. Darcy, when in fact he is not perfect. For me, his imperfections are what make him perfect, so I loved to see that he kept them in the beginning of the book.

However, the arguments and angst do not take a great part of the book and Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth come to an understanding early in the story. From that moment on, we will see Mr. Darcy as the perfect gentleman courting his fiancée. I love books with lots of Darcy and Elizabeth moments and this book certainly has them, but being an angst addict, I would prefer to have seen more angst and conflict in the remaining of book. Readers who love romance and lots of Darcy/Elizabeth moments will certainly love this book though!

Of course that given my tastes in JAFF, one of my favorite moments of the book was their fight after Wickham’s remarks. I believe Lory Lilian did an exceptional job in this scene because it is very real, and it reflects much of our behaviors with our loved ones. Most of the times we just need reassurances that the other person loves us, but somehow they cannot give them, as they also need that from our side; instead we hurt each other with remarks that are only said out of pain. I believe Lory Lilian was very good at transposing that into this specific scene and that was something that captivated me.

I’ve mentioned a lot of romance but the book is not just about that, it has several funny moments. I personally adore reading “dimples is good” coming out of Becky’s mouth and consider the way Caroline Bingley discovered about Mr. Darcy’s engagement absolutely hilarious!

I’ve read this book with a 7 year delay, but I will not commit the same error with the recently released sequel The Rainbow Promise, that one I will read as soon as I can, as this is definitely a story and a group of characters whose story we need to follow up.

 

You can find Rainy Days at:

Amazon.com – Rainy Days

Amazon.co.uk – Rainy Days

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***It’s Giveaway time!!!***

That’s right, this review brings along 2 eboks that Lory Lilian would like to offer to From Pemberley to Milton’s readers.

You can choose to receive either a copy of Rainy Days or a copy of it’s sequel The Rainbow Promise, which has recently been released. All you need to do is comment this post and let us know which one you would like to receive and why.

If you are curious about the sequel, don’t forget to visit us next Thursday for an excerpt and another chance to win one of the e-books.

The giveaway is international and is open until the 12th of June.

Good luck everyone!!!

26 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Hope for Mr. Darcy

HFMDE-Cover4 stars

Hope for Mr. Darcy is more than an Austen inspired romance, it is a book that will lead us in a journey of hope and belief in something grander than ourselves.

The entire book will use metaphors to show the reader that we all have a place in the world, a role to fulfill before leaving this plain of existence, and that love is the right inducement to make us choose a fulfilling life.

After reading Mr. Darcy’s letter, Elizabeth falls terribly ill and in her delirious state writes Mr. Darcy a letter that will give him the hope he thought was lost. She loses conscience and calls for Mr. Darcy who will be at her side during those terrifying hours. While Mr. Darcy is at the Hunsford Parsonage by her side, Elizabeth remains in a delirious state and her mind takes her to a garden where she finds Mr. Darcy. The time they spend together at the garden (in Elizabeth’s mind because in fact they remain at the parsonage) will change Elizabeth’s perception of Mr. Darcy and of her role in life.

The belief in something grander than ourselves is a vast part of this book which has a big religious component, so readers need to be aware of this aspect when reading the book. It requires either the belief in God or an open spirit to truly get immersed in Hope for Mr. Darcy, but if you can accept the premise, than you will enjoy it immensely. I know I did.

The book is a clean romance which is something I always appreciate, and has some minor twists in the minor characters that I have also enjoyed; Mr. Darcy’s kindness towards Mary was interesting and as we rarely see these two characters talk it was a nice addition; and Lydia’s reaction towards Wickham was without a doubt a refreshing change.

Mrs. Ellsworth also provided me great pleasure in what concerns Caroline Bingley and Mr. Collins, but even though Mr. Collins deserved what he was given, I confess I started to feel sorry for Caroline… maybe she will find her own happiness in the next books of the trilogy.

Hope for Mr. Darcy is the first volume of the Hope Series Trilogy, a Regency variation series focused on Mr. Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Georgiana Darcy and from I could tell from the first volume, the trilogy will not be composed by separate stories, but the continuation of the story under the perspective of another character. The transition between the books is extremely well done, to the point of frustrating me to have to wait a few months to see what Mr. Darcy will find in Liverpool 😉

The ending of the book was very interesting as the roles got reversed, and Darcy gives Col. Fitzwilliam hope the exact same way that he had received it from his cousin in the beginning of the book.

Col. Fitzwilliam’s love life caught my attention from the beginning of the book, and I was enjoying immensely to follow this side story until I realized that I would not actually see the outcome in Hope for Mr. Darcy, but in Hope for Col. Fitzwilliam, so I’m quite eager to see how his story will unfold and how he will overcome the obstacles he will face. I am not sure yet of what the author prepared for Georgiana, but I already know I will like the good Colonel’s story 🙂

Until the next book is released we can dream about Mr. Darcy’s most common words:

You are my love. My life. You are the love of my life

 

You can find Hope for Mr. Darcy in:

Amazon.com – Hope for Mr. Darcy

Amazon.uk – Hope For Mr. Darcy (Hope Series Trilogy Book 1)

13 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Sufficient Encouragement Review & Guest Post

SE final 44 stars

What if during her stay at Netherfield, Elizabeth heard Mr. Darcy praise her fines eyes and decided to change her attitude towards him hoping he would not interfere in Jane and Bingley’s relationship?

This premise doesn’t really tell us much about the book because that is just the start of a roller coster of changes that will occur in this Pride and Prejudice variation.
We will see a conniving and intelligent Mr. Wickham get his way in a very different approach that will get us confused in the beginning, and angry in the end as we realize he is indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I know Mr. Wickham is always hateful, but in this book he has a strategy I had never seen before: he praises Mr. Darcy’s qualities and becomes a master of manipulation that not even Elizabeth’s wit uncovers.

I enjoyed the witty debates between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, I always like to see a fight of wits and that is what Rose Fairbanks gave us in this book, but their relationship was not the aspect I enjoyed the most in this book. The secondary characters were my favourite, which is good, because they will return in August with Rose Fairbank’s new book.

Caroline Bingley was a pleasant surprise as we have a change to see her beneath her cover, and we realise the snobbish woman we know is in fact a broken-hearted woman trying hard to adapt and to feel integrated in society. She reveals herself to be a kind person who is willing to help others achieve their HEA, and I hope she achieves her own with the most unexpected love interest.

Mary was another surprise. I never gave her much credit until I started seeing many interesting developments in JAFF, and this book has done it once more. Mary is much similar to Elizabeth than one might think, and I could see her gain her own space in this story. She didn’t turned out to be as important as I would imagine, but I enjoyed her character very much.

Apart from the minor characters I’ve mentioned, and others such as Arlington and Lady Belinda, one of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was reading about the mills, about the workers fight for a better life, self made man, and the changes in the northern society.  The historic input in this book was clearly and added value, and even if circumstances are different, I could not stop thinking about the influence North and South might have had in the construction of this story, and that alone made me smile.

 

Sufficient Encouragement is available at:

Amazon.com – Sufficient Encouragement: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

Amazon.co.uk – Sufficient Encouragement: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (When Love Blooms Book 1)

Amazon.fr –Sufficient Encouragement: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (When Love Blooms Book 1) (English Edition)

 

I hope you have enjoyed the review of Sufficient Encouragement, and if it left you eager to read more about this story, I have good news 🙂 Today I’m not just posting the review, I’m also receiving Rose Fairbanks as a guest to talk about Elizabeth’s growing feelings for Mr. Darcy.

Without further ado, I will let you enjoy it 🙂

 

*** Guest Post***

lyme park a.k.a PemberleyMr. Darcy without Pemberley?

Now, don’t be alarmed, the Mr. Darcy of Sufficient Encouragement still has Pemberley and all his wealth from Austen’s original. In fact, he is a silent financial partner in several mills in the North owned by Bingley and also owns several colleries. But we never see Pemberley. Or even his London house. So, it has no bearing at all on what changes Elizabeth’s opinion of him.

Instead, Elizabeth slowly sees the gentler side of Darcy over a course of a few weeks instead of two days. Early in the story, Darcy asks Elizabeth to correspond with Georgiana. Instead of staying in London, Darcy and Bingley soon return to Netherfield. Georgiana accompanies them, as well as Darcy’s cousin, Lord Arlington. Elizabeth can soon see that Darcy is a beloved brother and cousin, as well as a steadfast friend to Bingley.

One morning, they unexpectedly meet in the woods. But it is not a romantic rendevous. Separately, they stumble across a pair of tenant boys that need their help. One fell and hurt his leg and sent his brother to get help, who then got lost. Darcy and Lizzy are the perfect team reacting quickly to the crisis. When all is settled, and both boys are safe at home, a beautiful scene does unfold between Darcy and Lizzy…but she’s already more than half in love with him by then.

So what is it that makes Lizzy love Darcy?

In Austen’s original, she claims to never want to see him again then is forced to go to Pemberley. While there she hears of how excellent of a master, landlord, and brother he is. Then, moments later she runs into him, and he treats her aunt and uncle with great civility. He calls the next day with his sister, proving his manners can be good on more than just one occasion. Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner return the call the next day, and Elizabeth briefly gets to speak with Darcy, but not privately. Who knows what might have developed after that, for the next day Elizabeth gets a letter from Jane about Lydia’s elopement. At the very moment, Darcy arrives at the Inn. During their conversation, Elizabeth feels her loss. She certainly loves him by then.

But was it just the effect of two days? We all know she jokes with Jane and says it was after seeing Pemberley’s grounds, but that is clearly just a joke. I’ve heard critics say she loved him for his wealth. And I’ve heard many fans say that seeing Darcy at Pemberley in the role of master was critical. Since I’m leaving out Darcy’s earthly belongings in this story, it must be clear that I don’t think they had much sway over Elizabeth.

Instead, I think what affected Elizabeth the most, was seeing Darcy still cared for her.

 

“Such a change in a man of so much pride exciting not only astonishment but gratitude— for to love, ardent love, it must be attributed; and as such its impression on her was of a sort to be encouraged, as by no means unpleasing, though it could not be exactly defined.”

 

I also think a theme important in the novel is the return of romantic feelings. I think after reading Darcy’s letter, and seeing that Darcy was not dishonorable, and therefore worthy of her hand, Elizabeth’s feelings began to change. She would not, however, call it love when she believed he no longer loved her, and she thought they would never meet again. Dear Charlotte had the right of it with this statement:

 

“We can all begin freely— a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement.”

 

And such is the case in Sufficient Encouragement, as the story begins with Elizabeth overhearing Darcy admiring her eyes. Of course, it’s not all a bed of roses. She does not welcome his attentions at first and later doubts his feelings are sincere, leaving her to feel all the more hurt for amending her own feelings. Like her Pride and Prejudice counterpart, my Elizabeth realizes once she’s set on the path of loving Darcy, she can’t shake it even when she fears it’s unreturned. And like Austen’s Elizabeth, mine comes to a moment where she finds the necessary courage to declare her feelings to Darcy.

But Pemberley? She’s really only interested in it for the sake of “privacy” with her husband.

Thanks for having me, Rita! I would love to know what readers think about when Elizabeth began to fall in love with Darcy. What was it that pushed her over the edge?

***Author Bio***

Rose Fairbanks hears book characters talk in her head. They whisper to her of a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. More than having a love story for the ages, these characters face struggles inspired by historical events such as market crashes, Napoleon, embargoes, Luddites, the Year Without a Summer and more. Merging historical research with the timelessness of Jane Austen, Rose currently has ten Pride and Prejudice variations published with several releases planned for 2016 as well as an original Regency Romance series in the works.

Rose proudly admits her Darcy obsession and addictions to reading, chocolate, and sweet tea. Always in the mood for a healthy debate, she also dearly loves to laugh. Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to complete her master’s studies…someday. At the moment, having a career combining her life-long interest in history and research with her love for Jane Austen and the Regency Era consumes all of her professional time. When not writing or reading, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry.

You can connect with Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and her blog: http://rosefairbanks.com

***Blog Tour Schedule***

Daffodil flowers

4/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories from the Past

4/17: Excerpt at My Jane Austen Book Club

4/18: Excerpt & Review at The Ardent Reader

4/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric

4/20: Interview & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews

4/21: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope

4/22: Guest Post at Babblings of a Bookworm

4/25: Review at Just Jane 1813

4/26: Guest Post at More Agreeably Engaged

4/28: Guest Post & Review at From Pemberley to Milton

4/29: Guest post at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice

 

19 Comments

Filed under 4 stars, Pride and Prejudice

Unequal Affection

175932204 stars

I believe my feelings for Unequal Affection were very similar to Elizabeth’s feelings towards Mr. Darcy. At first I did not like it. But the more time I spent with it, the more it captivated me and I ended up loving it.

Unequal Affection explores the possibility of Elizabeth accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford. The proposal itself is not written in the book, so we do not know how it was delivered, but we do see Elizabeth asking Darcy for some time to think about it.

This first part of the book was not very appealing for me because it was too logical. Elizabeth kept thinking about the reasons for accepting or refusing Darcy. It almost felt mathematical with her pondering the pros and cons. Also, despite all this, I can truly say I still do not know why she accepted him, or why he accepted to marry her knowing she did not love him and was doing it because of his income.

This is a premise that is not very appealing for me because even if I can understand that Elizabeth may accept Mr. Darcy thinking on the comfort and security of her family, I still find it hard to believe Mr. Darcy would have the same love and respect for Elizabeth, had she decided to marry him for his money and situation in life.

If you have the same opinion as me, you will only need to overcome this initial part of the book, because after all the thinking the book becomes really, really good and I think most readers would enjoy it immensely. If unlike me you do not find this premise demotivating, then you will certainly love the book.

Since the beginning of the book the dialogues got my attention because they are incredibly good! I would say they sounded just like Jane Austen’s, and they are certainly some of the best dialogues I’ve ever read in JAFF literature.

One of the things I loved the most in the book was the way Elizabeth handled Caroline Bingley. It was magnificent, and it was partly the responsibility of the dialogues. I believe this author was able to achieve in perfection what many others try to do; to present a witty Elizabeth who is able to defend herself from Miss Bingley with intelligence, class and no need to be blunt about subjects. Lara S. Ormiston was able to do this in a way that I believe Jane Austen herself would do.

It was also very interesting to see how Elizabeth was able to demonstrate to Darcy that his disdain for her neighbours was offending and affecting their feelings, how she showed him the value of each one of them despite their follies, and how they might feel keenly his disdain. This was done at a much later stage than in Pride and Prejudice, but in an equally wonderful manner.

I also enjoyed immensely how Wickham knew exactly how to hurt Darcy. I believe this was the wickedest Wickham I’ve seen in JAFF. In this book he doesn’t plan any kidnap or any maquiavelic action, but he is wicked in the way he purposely hurts Darcy. I liked this about him.

With all I’ve said, I’m sure you’ve already realised I was already in the middle of my love story with this book before I even realised it, and the last chapters were the cherry on top of the cake! They give us a description of Darcy and Elizabeth so true to themselves, a description of their love that is so accurate, and so intense and romantic, that I didn’t want the book to end.

I liked the last chapters so much, I do not resist to leave you with one of my favourite passages:

 

“He was not strange now, his mouth and arms were familiar; more, they were dear. They were …she pressed herself a little closer, hands curling around his collar…they were love and security; they were long talks and burning looks; they were faithfulness, and selflessness, honor and pobity. Everything that he had been to her, everything that he was, best of men, most difficult, most good, most intriguing and maddening and trustworthy and desirable of men”

Unequal Affection is available at:

Amazon.com – Unequal Affection

Amazon.co.uk – Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling

Amazon.fr- Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling

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Very Merry Mischief

91-9C4fcbiL4 stars

I was debating on what to read for this Christmas time, as I have not a habit of reading season stories, until I spotted “ Very Merry Mischief” in Amazon.

The length and premise sounded perfect, so I bought it and now I feel I have to recommend it to everyone.

What if an unexpected event prevented Mr. Darcy from returning to Hertfordshire after Bingley’s proposal to Jane Bennet? What if he never attended the Bingley’s wedding?

And what if Mr. Darcy never knew of Lady Catherine’s visit to Elizabeth and feared she would only accept him out of gratitude?

What if he never returned?

As Mr. Darcy never came back to Hertfordshire, Elizabeth believed he was too ashamed of Lydia’s behaviour and Wickham’s connection to make her another offer, With this in mind, she never attempted to contact or even encounter him either, and so it was they spent an entire year without seeing or hearing from each other.

On the following Christmas, the Bingley’s are invited to Pemberley and take with them the two “spinster” sisters residing with the family at Netherfield: Elizabeth Bennet and Caroline Bingley.

The first scene described in this novella is the trip the four of them make to Pemberley, and we get a glimpse of what it would be like to have Elizabeth and Caroline Bingley living together under the same circumstances: both unmarried, without any suiter or Mr. Darcy.

It was very funny to picture this. It made me wonder, and my imagination began to visualise their day to day interactions. Can you imagine how these two would tolerate one another? Can you imagine them spending day after day together in the same parlour? I can, and find it incredibly amusing!

When arriving at Pemberley, Elizabeth sees Anne de Bourgh and believes she is married to Mr. Darcy. This of course, leaves her in a miserable state, as she believes the only man she will ever love is completely lost to her.

But of course, that never happened, and this is where the true romance starts.

I liked their interactions and the way they can communicate with one another in a private way even when the room is full of people. I always like when they use references to books both read to transmit a certain thought they cannot publicly admit. It transmits a sense of connection and intimacy that I’m very fond of.

I also liked Miss Bingley’s attempts to show Mr. Darcy he could offer for her, even if her reaction to the ladies in the music room was a bit too much for me 🙂

Elizabeth Ann West has clearly made me grow a fondness for novellas that did not exist before. This one is another adorable short story, perfect for a Christmas time.

I’m sure everyone who celebrates Christmas is quite busy this time of the year, but this novella has exactly the right length to appeal to everyone in this season. It is amusing, diverting, romantic, well written and it will not take a reader more than 3 hours to read it.

It’s perfect for when you feel the need to sit back and relax a little after all the Christmas preparations.

 

A Very Merry Mischief is available at:

Amazon.com – Very Merry Mischief

Amazon.co.uk – Very Merry Mischief: A Pride and Prejudice Novella Variation

Amazon.fr – Very Merry Mischief: A Pride and Prejudice Novella Variation

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The Last Waltz

last waltz4 stars

I had read Pat Santarsiero’s Thursday’s Child a while back, and even though it might be a controversial book, especially for Janeite purists, I really enjoyed it, I liked the way she developed the characters and the way she created their interactions.

I was, therefore, very curious towards The Last Waltz.

This book is not as controversial as Thursday’s Child, it is in fact very different, and so I think it will appeal to a wider audience.

In the Last Waltz Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy briefly meet in London when she is 15 and will re-encounter each other at the Meryton Assembly. The book will follow the course of events we see in Pride and Prejudice, but of course Mrs. Santarsiero’s premise will change the events we already know too well.

The incident that will change everything in the story is the carriage accident Elizabeth has after that brief encounter with Mr. Darcy, and that leaves her with a limp. This will change who she is, and those searching for playful and sociable Lizzy will not find her. This is something some people might not like. In this book we do not see the regular portrayal of our beloved characters. We see what their characters might have been if something with a considerable impact had affected them. I understand some might not enjoy this idea, but I surely do.

I enjoyed seeing the way Pat Santarsiero developed Elizabeth’s character. It is very interesting to see her overcoming some of her inner struggles, just as it is interesting to see it is Mr. Darcy who keeps wanting her to dance. I also enjoyed the way some roles were reversed, namely having Elizabeth suffer for what she believe is an unrequited love. Why should it always be Mr. Darcy suffering from this?

There are some very romantic scenes in this book that I enjoyed. I almost cried when Elizabeth first talked to Mr. Darcy after the Meryton Assembly and at the end of the book their dance was so romantic I wanted to re-read the scene several times.

I would have prefer if there were no intimate scenes in the book as I always prefer a version without them, but it was an important part of the book that made Mr. Darcy very romantic and helped develop the story line, so it did not prevented me from liking it.

I also believe their first encounter could have been more developed as it is very important in the course of the story and I personally do not feel that it could have made such an impression on all characters involved in it.

But overall I really enjoyed this book. I like the way the writer lets the scenes flow. Even though this book relates one year in the characters’ lives we never feel bored while reading it. Pat Santarsiero has what I believe to be a very good sensitivity to what the readers want to read, and so the scenes are always very well balanced and described in accordance to their own importance for the readers.

There was also something I really enjoyed in this book. There is another romantic pair in the book (that I shall not reveal to avoid spoilers) that is always a favourite of mine, so it was a plus for me 🙂

 

The Last Waltz is available at:

Amazon.com – The Last Waltz

Amazon.co.uk – The Last Waltz: . . . another pride and prejudice journey of love

Amazon.fr – The Last Waltz: . . . another pride and prejudice journey of love (English Edition)

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The Trouble with Horses

the trouble with horses4 stars

I don’t usually buy Novelas, even if the premise is interesting, I always prefer to read longer books than a short story. But I had just finished Compromised by J. Dawn King, and the excerpt of The Trouble with Horses was in the end of the book, so I gave it a try.

Truth is, I really loved the excerpt and the premise! And once more I was proven wrong when it comes to “rejecting” something in JAFF! I should know by now that even if there are genres I prefer, I should not exclude anything in JAFF! The Trouble with Horses proved me I cannot deny novellas, as I may end up loving them as much as I love a longer book.

The novella starts with Elizabeth finding a lost horse that leads her to an injured Mr. Darcy in the middle of the forest and surrounded with snakes. Obviously, our heroine will scare off the snakes and get help for the unknown gentleman who is then taken to Longbourn for recovery.

You may imagine how the stories goes from here 🙂

Mary’s character was a surprise in this book. I liked how the author was able to give more importance to this character by making her the love interest of another much loved hero :).

Mary is one of those characters I always like to see developed. I think that Austen’s character was not meant to be very interesting, but I also feel there is a lot of potential in her to be developed in JAFF.

There was a detail I particularly liked in this story, and I know the Portuguese readers will like it as much as I did  🙂 The author quoted a part Sir Walter Scott’s The Vision of Don Roderick that mentions Portugal. A small detail, I know, but it always makes me smile.

I also liked the scenarios and how the story evolved. I was just sorry that this book was indeed very short and could be read in a couple of hours. I think it has all the potential to be a great longer book, and I wish the author will consider developing this book in the future by adding more scenes to it. I would enjoy reading more scenes of Elizabeth taking care of Darcy after the accident, more interactions between them in Hertfordshire, and much more story in London. I think the story is very well put together, but by extending it, the author would make it even better.

If you like short stories or novelas, I think you will love this book!

The Trouble with Horses is Available at:

Amazon.com – The Trouble with Horses

Amazon.co.uk  –The Trouble With Horses: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Novella

Amazon.fr – The Trouble With Horses: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Novella

 

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